Our arms remaining around one another, we stopped and swung about to look at the voice of a thousand tortured hemorrhoids. Officer Phil Menlo.
He worked pretty hard at being a loudmouthed jackoff because his real problem was he actually wasn’t a bad guy and would have loved to traded places and become a professional skin-flute player, even for a couple hours. At least he’d get to stand up for a change, instead of having his rotten old sphincter stuck to that vinyl squad-car seat for half a lifetime.
Our corner was in the middle of Menlo’s beat and as long as we didn’t roll drunks and roust purses, he left us more or less in peace. His partner was a morbidly alcoholic Irishman called Deckie. That guy usually sat in the passenger seat, head thrown back like he’d been throat slit, mouth agape, completely trashed halfway through their shift. The cruiser smelled like a rolling still.
Deckie so rarely set foot out of that car, I began imagining he was just a fat torso and big ugly head Menlo carried around as a prop. But when Deckie did take an interest, which was thankfully seldom, he could be evil. That shiftless ogre drilled marbles at us with a slingshot from the cruiser window. Or he’d call you over and his big meaty paw would lash out, grab you in an iron grip and smash you against the car door a few times as a preventative warning.
I don’t think they even carried guns – or clubs. Probably pawned off to buy booze and table dances. They settled things old school, with their fists - pounding the tar out of guys who got on their nerves then leaving them in the gutter, a bloody, broken heap, foregoing all that tedious paperwork.
Despite Menlo’s tough beat cop act, you just knew his sleep was always fitful and tormented, thrashing around in one of those narrow twin beds, his miserable hag sweating next to him, her mug encased in a death mask of thick white face cream. Menlo was the kind of guy who slept in a wifebeater, dingy white boxers and those horrible black dress socks.
Alone with his longing, he became the classic pillow biter, fighting back acrid tears of shame and regret so as not provoke a shrieking interrogation from his harpie wife.
God almighty, Phil, you aren’t turnin’ into somekinda cocksuckin’ old faggot, are ya?!
I’d bet he tip-toed into the can at night to quietly jerk off, a desperate effort to push the nightmares away. But it was hopeless. Menlo was a text book hingebender. For those who’ve never heard the term, a hingebender is a guy who’s pushing on the inside of the closet door so hard, he’s bending the hinges.
Out on the boulevard, as Menlo would coast by in his cruiser, we’d see him go zombie and lick his lips, goggle-eyed at some fresh new piece of little white chicken. Mesmerized, he didn’t hear our mocking hoots, didn’t care. His fat little cop mouth would hang open and gasp like a landed fish, craving to be stuffed full. Years later, I heard he got booted off the force for trying to play older wiser, butt bangin’ mentor to some cornpone rookie cop he was assigned to quote-unquote train.
Afterwards, Menlo went through the traditional evisceration; losing wife, house, kids, status, pension, bowling league membership. He came out as a militant queer at like age 45. Well, better late than never, I guess. I also heard he wasted no time in making up for all those years of pining. Then he lost his cool with some luscious young piece of tail and stabbed the kid to death, was imprisoned, fabricated a wig of some kind and became the bitch of the range. Story was he’d never been happier. I guess we all find our level, eventually.
Anyway, as I said, Phil Menlo really wasn’t a bad sort, as long as you didn’t catch him too hung over. He cut us a fair bit of slack. He was that old style cop who liked to keep his turf under control but understood the bigger picture. Unlike today’s combat equipped steroid freaks who ride around armed to the teeth, ready to taser you for a wrong look, Menlo’s trip was more about diffusing.
He’d step between guys getting ready to throw down and tell them both to take a walk. His prison didn’t have stockholders to answer to. He knew we had no place else to go and were providing a valuable service. As he once crowed at a bunch of us, “You little assholes are the best rape prevention machine goin’! I oughta know! Hardy har har!”
But back to that warm night on a 1977 sidewalk and my girlfriend, Dee, she just smiled so sweet over her shoulder at Menlo, shaking her head as she cooed, “We’re on break, you old knobgobbler. This boy’s all mine right now…”
Menlo nodded and grinned a mile wide, eyes big as a psychotic lap dummy. “Oh, yeah?” he cackled at us. “Well, any time you’re ready, two heads are better than one!”
Like any mouthy young whore, Dee always had to have the last word. She chuckled and grabbed my ass. “Like I said, occifer, my guy’s off duty. Besides, he sucks cock for money - but he sucks my pussy for luuuv…” Dee finished with a flourish, giving Menlo the blowjob gesture, her fist pumping at her mouth as her tongue went in and out of her cheek. Then she laughed that high ringing laugh of those who know for certain they will forever and she kissed me so slow and so soft it barely happened.